by Carrie Adams, Spartan Staffer
The Beginning

On a cold, dark, wet morning in February of 2011, over a thousand miles from home, while horribly under-dressed and with a fractured foot in the mountain trails of Southern California, I raced my first Spartan Race.

It became part of an experience that would ultimately change the course of my life dramatically. I didn’t know the significance of that when I boarded the plane in Nebraska the night before or even that morning when the gun went off. Eight miles in the mountains and I was a Spartan, it was even captured on film. I was the “Single mom from Omaha, Nebraska.” When I finished, I was exhilarated with the course and I didn’t know in that moment that I was also about to take on the role of a lifetime as a Spartan Race employee.

Call me Crazy
When I took the job at Spartan, everyone said I was crazy. It was crazy to join a new company with this “obstacle racing” events that were still considered “mud runs” for “weekend warriors.” There couldn’t possibly be a future in that. Spartan HQ was so unlike anything I had known – we were, and still are, a small shop with limited resources. Most of us are athletes, all of us are hard workers that believed in this idea that Spartan could change lives. And it does. I’ve seen it. It’s undeniable.

After accepting Joe D’s offer of branding and content in early 2011, my life became about plane rides and finish lines. But in between the frequent flier miles I racked up and the medals I put around the necks of those who crossed a Spartan finish line, I’ve made a lifetime of memories I’ll never forget. I’ve done Bikram yoga in a California and almost missed a flight out of Vermont after getting into a fender bender blocks from the airport. I got stuck in a blizzard in Massachusetts, navigated UP a double black diamond slope in Pennsylvania, crawled through culverts in Staten Island, and climbed trees in Texas. I took on a Beast in Killington. I spent six hours stranded at a Park and Ride in Red Hooks, NY with two of my best friends. I’ve seen the sunrise in 17 states in the last two years.

From 2011 to now, I’ve also logged time in Vermont, Malibu, Temecula, Boston, New Hampshire, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Massachusetts, Missouri, Glen Rose, Dallas, and Colorado. I’ve been coast to coast and gotten excellent at packing and sleeping anywhere – including the floor of a barn and on a rock at the top of a mountain under the stars. And this week will mark my last days at Spartan Race. It’s overwhelming to say that out loud. It almost sounds impossible, considering all I’ve done and seen in the time I’ve been here.

When I started we had less than 30,000 FB fans and now we are well over 3 million. In 2011, we had 26 events and in 2013 will have over 65 worldwide races and nearly 750,000 people will cross one of our finish lines before the New Year. I could tell you enough to fill books about this company, stories of how the Beast was born while Joe was hiking with a few staffers in Vermont and how it took us four hours to pick the right shade of green for the first Beast medals in 2011. Our leader, Joe De Sena is the kind of man you’d go to war for. His brilliance with a shade of crazy has made this company great, special, and always thinking of the people who come to our races first. Everything has always been so organic and always with our racers in mind. Don’t ever doubt how much love goes into the details, even as we’ve grown to such a huge size. When I tune into the NBC Sports special that will cover our most recent World Championship event, its amazing to consider how far we’ve come. I’m proud to have contributed to that in my own way. So, if that is all crazy, go ahead and call me crazy.

Thank You, Spartans
This isn’t about what I learned about me in the last two and a half years, its what I’ve learned from the Spartan community. It’s about what I’ve been given in the process.

I’ve stood for hours at finish lines watching the faces of those who would finish – from the first place finishers to the last, all crossing the same line and the transformation is immediate. The relief in their bodies, a relaxing in the face – sometimes in tears, sometimes a smile, often both. There is the physical acknowledgement and realization that they are, in fact, DONE. The medal goes around their neck and they all take a moment and stare at it’s sheen – some with shock and disbelief, but all with pride of what has been earned on the course. You have all shown me what the best and brightest exists in all of us, that there is so much good, that there is still much to have high hopes about in this life.

There are too many stories I’ve told from this blog and other places to recount “favorites.” You’ve all meant something to me. Something incredible and something that has left imprints on me that I will happily carry with me always.  From the elite athletes that breathed a new and competitive life to this sport, to those who have overcome personal obstacles… those of you running for a reason bigger than yourself, and those who are running for the first time – you’ve all made me better.  You’ve made Spartan better.  So many of you have become more than subjects of a story line, you’ve thankfully become my friends. That keeps me in excellent company and always expecting more of myself.

My co-workers are the best in the world. I will miss you all deeply.  I’ve benefited from the hard work of the Spartan staff, the commitment to excellence, and a work ethic that would shame most.   I am not leaving your family, just the walls where we’ve shared sleepless nights and early mornings.  I never had a cup of coffee in my life until  I joined Spartan.  How is that for proof?  And as Joe told me last week, “You never really leave Spartan.”  This is true.

Many people don’t know where our tagline, “You’ll Know at the Finish Line” came from. It was something I wrote on a piece of paper in our old office in Boston after accepting my Spartan role and after doing a race myself.  It has been repeated back to me hundreds of time since we adopted it and its something that unites anyone who has done a race.  You can’t explain it, it’s just something you know once you’ve had the experience.

It couldn’t have come more full circle than when I saw my two daughters, Taylor and Cate, cross the finish line in the Nebraska Kid’s race this past weekend.  A race in my home state, a race I had asked for since I began so long ago was how my Spartan story ended.  And welcoming my girls to the Spartan finisher family of finishers, was a privilege.   It was a perfect send-off.  They knew at their finish line, they’d been a part of the story too.  They’d seen me travel to far off places and always return home with stories and muddy laundry.  Now, they could feel it for themselves.  It was one of the greatest gifts I could have given them. Their delighted faces were the greatest gifts they could have given back.

I look forward to the next chapter for me and my girls but am so, so, so very thankful to have such a prolific chapter of Spartan Race in my life story.  I’ve loved every moment of the ride, I’ve grown personally and professionally, found love, friendships, and will always be grateful to be part of such a motivating and inspiring community.  As a woman who regularly writes about 10,000 words a day, here are two that I can’t say enough to everyone I’ve encountered along the way: THANK YOU.

#spartanforever

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by Carrie Adams, Spartan Blog Editor and Finance Professor

www.bagofnothing.com

Tomorrow is Monday!  As always, Monday is the day that most people say that “the diet starts.”  Well, it’s Monday, so how is your diet going?  Let’s do some math and see how your fast food lunch is costing you… in burpees AND in your pocket book.

While counting calories is only one factor of health and nutrition – the numbers certainly don’t lie and are an easy way to demonstrate how your time AND money is affected.  You’ve heard the adage, you can’t out train a bad diet, and it’s absolutely true. You can’t.  You also “pay” for your calories in more than one way.

The calorie burn is easy math.  Livestrong.com tells us that vigorous calisthenics such as pushups, sit-ups and burpees can burn 563 calories an hour for a 155 lb. person, 472 for someone weighing 130 lbs. and 645 for someone at 180 lbs. That’s a great number (enough to burn off a six inch meatball sub from Subway in most cases, but how many of you are doing an hour of burpees a day?

Anyone who did CrossFit Open 12.1 last year, (seven minutes of burpees) knows that seven minutes is a rough stretch.   I can’t imagine another 53 minutes!

Let’s look at an example of calories per dollar.  A large fry at McDonald’s weighs in at 500 calories alone and that’s before you’ve even put ketchup on your Big Mac (another 540 calories by the way).  In dollars, that $2.19 you paid for the fries, just bought you 228 calories per dollar.    Add your Big Mac and you just spent 370 calories per dollar on your lunch that you are telling yourself you earned at the gym.  Cheap lunch on the wallet maybe, but at what long term cost?   

Fast food is cheap, but it depends on how you do the math…  You don’t “earn” the fries in the gym and you shouldn’t reward yourself with garbage, even if the garbage is cheap.  Saying, “I worked out hard today, I earned a fast food value meal,” is like saying, “I worked out hard today, I am now going to assault my body with garbage and toxins.” That doesn’t make any sense and it doesn’t do your body any good.  It may save you a few dollars to load up on tacos, pizza, and burgers but in the end you’ll pay for it and not just in hours of burpees logged at the gym.

The reality is, eating healthy will cost you more in the pocketbook… but compared to what it will cost you in your health and well-being, it should be perceived as an investment, not just an expense.  According to a New York Times article, Adam Drewnowski, director of the center for public health nutrition at the University of Washington conducted a study about price of food. Based on his findings, a 2,000-calorie diet would cost just $3.52 a day if it consisted of junk food, compared with $36.32 a day for a diet of low-energy dense foods. However, most people eat a mix of foods. The average American spends about $7 a day on food, although low-income people spend about $4, says Dr. Drewnowski.

But it’s easier to overeat junk food, Dr. Drewnowski adds, both because it tastes good and because eaters often must consume a greater volume in order to feel satisfied.  The money saved today on food may be needed later if it leads to expensive healthcare costs associated with an unhealthy lifestyle.  That doesn’t sound like much of a cost savings to me.

Fitnessgoop.com published an article citing that an unhealthy diet is a major contributor to long-term disease. A 2007, Milken Institute study entitled “An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease” reported that seven chronic diseases—cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, pulmonary conditions, and mental illness—cost the nation $1.3 trillion annually, including $277 billion for treatment and nearly $1.1 trillion in lost productivity. This sum equates to $361 per month per American for 2007 for just those seven diseases. Doesn’t sound like a bargain to me.

Where is the “value” in your value meal?

 

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by Margaret Schlachter, guest blogger

2010 may have been the start of my Spartan journey when I was one of the original Spartans racing in the first Spartan Race in early 2010. 2011 marked my first podium and an invitation to join Spartan Chicked from the beginning, but it’s 2012 that will forever go down in the history books.

2012 was an incredible year, little did I know that in June when I started my 2012 season I would race nineteen official times and a few laps to help out, amass seven podium finishes and never out of the top 15. Little did I know I would travel throughout the country, race countless miles, make lasting friendships, and change careers all because of Spartan Race. I could write novels about the year but instead condensed it down to my Top 10 Moments in Spartan for 2012.

Top 10 Moments in Spartan Race of 2012

10.       The Perfect Race – finishing my first race with a single penalty burpee in Amesbury, MA Sprint.

9.         Finishing 3rdboth days in the Mid-West Super Spartan. It was an incredible weekend where two great races happened.

Margaret Schlachter and Juliana Sproles

8.         Watching the Spartan Chicked movement grow over 9,000 members. We started with a dozen women brought together with an idea by Carrie Adams and today it’s grown beyond what any could have imagined a year and a half ago.

7.         A Book Deal – Because of OCR and Spartan Race I am working on my first book due out in Spring 2014, dedicated to getting more people into racing and getting over the hurdles that stand in the way.

6.         Racing in Fenway Park – I went to college in Boston and that’s when I first got into baseball. Racing in Fenway was a surreal experience, hugging the Green Monster, burpees on the warming track, and seeing parts of the park otherwise closed to the public was priceless!

5.         The People – The Spartan Community is unlike any other in sport. The bonds and friendships formed are closer than many friendships I have had for years. Some of my biggest competitors are my best friends. The conversations on the trails during races are what sometimes got me to the finish.

4.         DNF’ing the Death Race after 25 hours of racing – More was learned in about myself in that DNF than I could have ever known.

3.         Finishing the Ultra Beast – it was more than a race for me, a goodbye to Killington, Vermont where I started my fitness journey. My last time on “my” mountain before moving to Utah, it was a race that transcended the rest.

2.         Chris Davis – Meeting and helping Chris to train for the Vermont Beast was an experience that not only allowed me to help train another Spartan but more importantly I got a great friend out of it. The first time he got over the 8ft wall in my backyard is a treasured memory of 2012

1.         Turning “pro” – In July, I quit my day job and simultaneously became the first female professional obstacle course racer. My life is my website, Dirt in Your Skirt, racing and training.

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Tales from the Chicked: Carrie Adams, Chicked Founder

by Beth Shields, Spartan Chicked member

Two and-a-half years ago, no one would have expected Carrie Adams to spark a revolution for women in the sport of obstacle racing.  Working in the corporate grind and raising her family she couldn’t fathom how much her life would change and how many lives she’d change in the process.

In November 2010, Adams finalized her divorce and was unexpectedly laid off from her consulting job within a two-week time span.  Then 28, and suddenly a single, unemployed Mom of two young girls, “I was in a very dark place at the time,” she says.  Never one to be down long, she quickly secured another job as a medical consultant in Omaha, Nebraska, and settled in to her new position.

Around the same time, good friend, and ultra-endurance athlete, Spartan’s own Jason Jaksetic, convinced her to try a Spartan Race,

SoCal Super Spartan 2011

the Super in Temecula in February 2011.  An avid runner, Adams was an endurance athlete, but had never participated in an obstacle course race.  “Just come try this Spartan event in California,” Jaksetic told her.  “There’s fire, barbed wire and walls.  You’re going to love it.”  Adams was far from smitten. “The more he’s telling me, the more I’m like, ‘that sounds horrible.’”

Jaksetic’s urging prevailed, and Adams was convinced to come out and race on what turned out to be the coldest day in Southern California in 200 years.  She was also featured in a race video that was made that day about overcoming obstacles.  Notably, the video also features Hobie Call – it was the first Spartan Race (he won) of his career.  Adams ran the course next to Joe Desena, who carried an axe the entire distance.  Desena is one of the founding members of Spartan Race.

“It was one of the most beautiful and exhilarating races I’d ever done,” says Adams.  “I was looking around, and thinking that there should be more people there.  It blew my mind that more people weren’t doing it.  I said to Joe, ‘How are you going to get more people here?’”  His response was, “You tell me.” She laughs.

“That is how it all started.  I’ll always be grateful to Jason,” says Adams.  “He’s still one of my favorite people, we are co-editors of the SR blog, but more than that he’s a very good friend.”

The Spartan Race series was developed by eight “Founding Few” members, including endurance athletes, and mountaineers.  Inspired by the Spartan Death Race (the liability waiver consists of three words:  “You may die,” and only 10% of competitors finish), these obstacle courses are meant to be a more accessible version open to more than just elite athletes.  There are four race lengths: the sprint, 3+ miles with 15+ obstacles; the super, 8+ miles with 20+ obstacles; and the beast, 13+ miles with 25+ obstacles and now the Ultra Beast that is a marathonish distance with more than 50 obstacles.  Unlike traditional endurance events, it’s almost impossible to know what to train for.   It’s the only chipped, timed obstacle organization in the world with world rankings and a points system.

After that seminal race in California, Desena contracted Adams as a part-time blogger and marketer, while she continued her full-time job of medical consulting and raising her daughters.  The part-time work for Spartan quickly became unmanageable in tandem with her full time gig.   At the point when it seemed she was in an untenable position, Adams met with her medical consulting services boss and was told they had lost funding on her project.  She felt it was perfect timing and accepted a full-time contract with Spartan Race.

Passionate, upbeat, and charismatic, Adams set out to promote Spartan Races across the globe, and decided to focus on women, an as-yet unrealized demographic in the sport.  To that end, Spartan Chicked, the female-only offshoot of Spartan Races, her brainchild, began.  With very little fanfare, it was initiated at the first ever Spartan Beast with Adams and about a dozen other women.  It’s now a phenomenon promoted through a closed Facebook group that has grown to about 10,000 members in the last nine months.  Adams regularly joins in, recently posting a “WOD” – workout of the day – challenging the Chicks to do planks every hour on the hour, take pictures and post them to the group, and sharing her love of all things fitness, life with her two small girls, and her love of bacon, CrossFit and Pilates.  ”These women mean the world to me.” She says.  ”They are remarkable.”

While promoting the Spartan brand, she continues to race approximately six Spartan events a year among other events – she just did a marathon on Saturday.  She ran the Beast in Vermont with three of her girlfriends, cartwheeling over the finish line.  “I was so proud of that medal,” she says.  “We didn’t run fast or anything, but we laughed and shared food and crawled through mud side-by-side, collectively suffering and coming out the other side.  That’s pretty rad.”  Two of the girls, Alyssa Tokorcheck and Monica Mondin, she had just met that morning, corresponding only on Facebook previously.  After finishing, Tokorcheck turned to her and said, “It seems kind of silly to tell you now, it was nice to meet you.”  That Spartan Race series has been an epiphany for Adams on many levels.  “I don’t know how to explain the magnitude of what I experience working for this company.  I am forever changed by the incredible people I get to work with, the athletes who I meet, and what I see on race day.”  That sentiment is encompassed by Spartan Race’s tagline which Adams coined, “You’ll know at the finish line.”

“It made complete sense,” says Adams of the tagline, “You can’t explain it to people who haven’t done it.  You just have to get out there and do one to understand.”  The recent Team X-T.R.E.M.E. Heroes Heat in Virginia is one example.  “That team blew my mind,” says Adams, who becomes serious for a moment, “I am so honored to have gotten to witness their race and I’ll never view the world the same again.  There is no such thing as impossible.  Life gets more beautiful every day.  Who gets to say that about their job?” she asks.  “I’m extraordinarily blessed.”

About the growth of Spartan Chicked, Adams says simply, “It’s a movement; it’s not a team, it’s a movement, a community, a network.  These women have changed their lives.  I am just thankful to have a front row seat to their accomplishments.”

The online Spartan Chicked Facebook group includes women of all ages, sizes, and ethnicities who share not only training and nutrition tips, but also swap stories of motherhood and overcoming personal adversity.  The group is also free to discuss other non-Spartan races, a decision that was made early on in order to promote the easy atmosphere that Spartan Chicked maintains.  When Adams started, Spartan Races had 20,000 facebook fans; she’s helped grow that to nearly two million.

Adams sees these races as serving to challenge women in a way that traditional endurance events don’t.  “If you’re a racer in any capacity, finish lines can become anticlimactic.  As much fun as [racing] is, [Spartan races] are a gift; because when you finish, you finish something that you couldn’t prepare for.  The level of challenge starts to escalate . . . .  You find out what you’re capable of achieving is far greater than what you thought because you were living in a very constructed space of your own making.”

Adams sees women as having an edge in ultra-endurance sports. To her, “That’s a very cool thing.  Many women can go farther, go more, and endure longer.  It’s fun to show women, who are predominantly caretakers by nature, that doing for yourself from time to time will make you a better sister, daughter, wife, friend, because you’re more complete and more self-actualized.”

The Spartan Race series is something Adams promotes with a passion, “We’ve come to this place that we’ve forgotten how to be human beings, and we’ve forgotten what it means to live.  We’ve lost that connection that we have with the most primal parts of ourselves.  That’s why these events are so strongly resonating now more than ever, because people long for it.  We miss being human beings.”

Seeing women transformed and how her own daughters are impacted by being around ultra-fit women are huge inspirations for her.  “My girls are active.  Always have been.  They’ve grown up around that kind of atmosphere.”  She’s excited about an upcoming opportunity for them as well, “My Cross Fit Gym, CrossFit Omaha is starting up a kids’ program.  What a gift to give my girls,” she explains, “how to be powerful and strong and to understand and appreciate what that means.  You can’t put a price on that.  That will infiltrate everything that they do as decision makers, even into adulthood.  It’s something that is born out of ‘I can run that far,’ and ‘I lift this barbell,’ and ‘I can climb this wall.” It’s all part of the equation.”

For women who have never attempted this before, Adams has some advice:  “You have to just decide.  You can literally be a different person right now than you were 10 seconds ago.  You just have to choose it.  Tomorrow’s coming, whether you live healthy or not.  Imagine what one day on top of one day on top of one day starts to look like when you are living a healthier life.  Just embrace, whatever it is, registering for a race, joining a new gym, making healthier food choices . . . don’t wonder what your life could be, go out and make it what you know it can be.”

Let the revolution begin.

[Editor's Note: Carrie has been a full time Spartan employee since March 2011 and started the Spartan Chicked movement in August 2011.  To join the closed network (women only) go HERE and request to join.  You can find Adams' personal blog at www.leavingapath.com.]

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by Aja Varney, Guest Blogger

It isn’t the size of the gift that matters, but the size of the heart that gives it. ~Eileen Elias Freeman

When Carrie Adams, and the other founding members of the Spartan Chicks, created a FaceBook group (sorry guys, it’s for ladies only!), it was for the purposes of connecting women across the country who were all interested in Obstacle Course Racing. It was intended to give them a safe space to discuss training issues, racing tactics, share concerns, while supporting and motivating each other. In a short period of time, this group has grown from a tiny group of 100 ladies, to an 8000+ crowd of Chicks. More importantly, the group has identified itself as a real community of united women, running with each other at races, keeping tabs on each other via email, connecting via phone for workouts – a community of Chicks, always ready to chat and lend a hand at a moment’s notice, and show Obstacle Racing that women are a force to be reckoned with.  The Chicked logo seen all over the race course on the tank tops and other “Spartan Chicked” gear.

In that vein, we’re launching our Second Annual Spartan Chicked Holiday Gift Swap! It is open to women across the globe (yes, no matter where you do your Chicking, you can participate!) to sign up. You will be provided with the name and address of one other Chick, with whom you’ll get to share some Holiday Season cheer. Gifts range from simple cards and baked goods, to fun and functional fitness gear, to handmade scarves, blankets or ornaments. The only limit is your creativity! We’re not looking for you to spend billions, but help continue to unite our community of awesome ladies, by connecting with one specific Chick around the holidays.  To date, we have women from all over the globe from London to Australia, Malibu to Manhattan!

To join in on the fun, fill out this form with your information. In a few days, you will be contacted with the name and address of your Giftee. From there, take matters into your own hands; friend your Giftee on FaceBook, check out what she’s been posting about in the Chicks group, get to know her and let your creative juices flow!

Submissions will be accepted until MIDNIGHT (EST), DECEMBER 7th.

Aja Varney

For your privacy, your name and address will only be shared with the one Chick who will be sending you a gift. If you do have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me: aja.varney@gmail.com (Even just to say Hi!)

[Editor's Note: Aja Varney is a Spartan Chick many times over.  You can follow her adventures on her blog, What a Beautiful Wreck, where this post was originally published.

The Chicked Movement began in 2011 at the Vermont Beast, the brain child of Spartan staffer Carrie Adams, with about a dozen women wanting to run together  (Adams included) for support, and has grown drastically since the humble beginnings.  With over 130,000 women passing across a Spartan finish line and a closed network numbering over 8,300 at press time, it shows no sign of slowing down.  The Chicked movement is even featured in the soon-to-be released book Ultimate Obstacle Race Training by Brett Stewart.  Are you a Spartan Chick who wants to join the movement?  Click HERE. ]

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by Carrie Adams

[Editor’s Note: Original posted on Carrie’s personal blog www.leavingapath.com.]

mom4Spartan Race has exposed me to some of the most extraordinary athletes and individuals.  I’ve made friends all over the world and witnessed feats of courage and triumph all over the United States and from super athlete’s like Hobie Call and Jenny Tobin.  I’ve been inspired away from home and brought those memories home with me. 

This weekend, I had a different experience and while I was away from home, the inspiration came from a very close and personal place. 

My mom has always been a person I’ve admired.  Arguably one of the smartest women I’ve ever met, she made being a mom and having a kick ass career something that looked easy when I was growing up.  It was only years later with my own children that I realized the struggle she faced and how much grace she held to make it look easy.  Never missing a game or a dance recital, putting homemade and nutritious food on the table each morning and night, all while holding down 60 hour work weeks, she was superwoman.

In the business world, she was a force, often in fields dominated by men.  I remember her telling me of working for Lee Iacocca early in her career when he was with Ford Motor Company and how during a meeting she defied the automobile icon directly. 

She says, “He was unhappy with the production numbers at Claycomo, MO plant and looking directly at me, I was  the only woman in the room, he said, ‘I think it’s time for you to leave.’”  She was shocked at the request.

Iacoca’s reason for asking her to leave, “I am going to swear, and I don’t want to do that in front of a woman.”

In a roomful of men she wouldn’t allow herself to be different, regardless of his intention.  She told him, “No, I’m fine.”  She laughs recalling that her boss looked at her like she had two heads at her defiance of the man in charge.

“I stayed.  He swore.” She explains with a smile. 

As I’ve grown up, she’s never ceased to amaze me at what she can accomplish.  Thissarasotaandstuff 3586 past weekend was no exception.  Just a week inside of being over a debilitating bout with pneumonia and coming off a season ending stress fracture, she finished her first half marathon in under 2:45 minutes  yesterday finishing 53rd in her age group. 

No small feat for a woman who has never run more than six miles, who had not run outside since August 2011, and who even the day before the race was having lung trouble post-pneumonia.  She registered six days before the event, at my insistence and calmly, sarasotaandstuff 3635and coolly we towed the line at the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon and took off in the dark with 3,000 other runners.  She was undaunted on the outside of the task that lay ahead. We watched the sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico, she battled for 12 miles by my side in good spirits and never without a smile.  I lost her just past mile 12 and went forward finishing just three minutes ahead of her.  I watched her cross the finish line more than fifteen minutes inside her goal of three hours earning her first half mary hardware. 

We didn’t run alone, we were surrounded by exceptional women.  Our pacer Marisela (a marathon veteran 41 times over) who we stuck by for 11 miles was extraordinarysarasotaandstuff 3563 and in our group ran two eleven year old girls one of whom would finish side by side with her older sister, just 13 years old, in 2 hours and 40 minutes.   And another 11 year old girl who would finish her first half marathon alone, chicking her dad shortly after the start.  Mothers, daughters, sisters, and best friends crossed the line in a race comprised of 65% females.  I held back tears watching so many of them finish hand in hand.

sarasotaandstuff 3615It was a memory I won’t soon forget alongside women, one in particular, my mother I am so very grateful for having in my life.  I made a video for her, of our day and our run, a little Half Mary by the Gulf, 13.1 miles shared by mother and daughter and one finish that will last a lifetime. 

On our way home she said casually and unexpectedly, “So, where is the closest Spartan Race?” 

I couldn’t help but smile,she’s often heard me talk about the races and what they mean to me.  I replied, “We’ll be in Chicago in October, it’s a Super, so eightish miles.”

“Hmmm,” she mused, “I think I might have to get a plane ticket…”

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by Carrie Adams

carrie_kenn1This story is special to me, because as a female endurance athlete, single mother to two daughters, AND a Spartan employee, promoting the women who come to our races and encouraging more to take part means a lot to me!  Spartan Race is one of the fastest growing active racing organizations in the world. We are more than just your average “mud” run we are an international obstacle racing organization that promotes athleticism, an active lifestyle and bringing together a community of people across the globe. A community of people comprised of some pretty amazing women and girls. 

Spartan Chicked is a movement I began last summer to educate, motivate, and empower women and girls to begin and continue active, competitive, supportive, and fitness driven lifestyles. 

BD2_7586Currently, 32% of Spartan Race competitors are female and we are looking to increase those numbers in 2012 with efforts focused on our female demographic and encouraging participation in our 32 global events. With Spartan Chicked gear and some big ideas for 2012, expect to hear a lot about the Spartan women!  30,000 women raced with Spartan in 2011 and that number is expected to double in 2012!

Spartan Chicked is a movement open to women of all athletic backgrounds from competitive to just beginning a journey of health and well-being. Competitive female athletes like Xterra racer Jennifer Tobin, 2011 Spartan first place female, professional adventure racer Danelle Balangee, Olympic hopeful Lindsey Scherf Georgia Spartan Sprint winner, and Canadian National team member Claude Godbout, Spartan Beast second place finisher have all graced Spartan courses with their feats of athleticism and performance. Check out the special edition Spartan Chicked video that details the movement and some of the amazing women.

Our nearly 700,000 FB fans are represented by 30% female fans and Spartan Race TV and Radio Show regularly feature female Spartan stories and special interests and every Tuesday is dedicated to Spartan Chicks on all our digital platforms highlighting our amazing community. Spartan Chicked has a dedicated blog that is regularly updated by Spartan Chicks!

clip_image013The Spartan Chicked campaign targets young women and girls to show them that being strong, capable, and pushing ourselves is fun and fulfilling. We are here to inspire a nation to get off the couch, take care of their bodies, and ultimately challenge themselves to push through obstacles and overcome adversity.

Our Spartan tagline is “You’ll Know at the Finish Line” and we want as many women as possible to get to experience that feeling of achievement through one of our races!

We will be featuring the amazing Spartan women on our blog and telling their stories.  So look forward to more from our Spartan Chicked community!

Are you a Spartan Chick?  Two things. 

1. Become a part of our closed network on FB: Click HERE and request to join.  No boys allowed!  We share fitness tips, nutrition information, motivation, support and everything in between. 

2. If you want to share your own Chicked story, email carrie@spartanrace.com

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by Carrie Adams

Originally posted in Carrie’s blog: www.leavingapath.com

“We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness” –Unknown

SR_HURRICANE_BadgeAs I exited the hotel lobby at 4:30AM in the dark Southern California morning, I shuddered against the cold and watched my breath escape harshly into the air.  “So much for Malibu sunshine,” I remember thinking.  Hopping in the car with Tommy and Joe we drove over to the venue to kick off an early morning challenge with about 100 people in the earliest Spartan Race Heat – the Hurricane Heat.  Born in the belly of a hurricane it’s a heat that’s about everything BUT racing, it’s about making connections, completing tasks in extreme conditions and Malibu was the newest installment of an experience that was constantly evolving.  In the Hurricane Heat, I’m acting as facilitator not as the participant.  And it’s a new game when you’re on the other side of the ball. 

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by Carrie Adams

The Killington Beast proved to be one of the most memorable Spartan battlegrounds to date.  Once people got home (and the swelling went down), the emails flooded into Spartan HQ telling stories of survival on the mountain and how the obstacles and single track trail were some of the toughest our Spartan athletes have faced.  However, some of the most memorable quotes were heard on the mountain by some of our very own Spartan employees.  (You know we run our own races, right?)

Our take-away?  Spartans are not only resilient, they are also quite FUNNY.  Here’s a few (that we could remember.) 

thebeast-161. This is the hardest race I’ve ever done and yet I’m still smiling.  I think I need a Power Bar.  That’s the first sign of being delusional. 

2. This is harder that child birth and I have had two kids.

3. Maybe I didn’t do enough carb loading?  Carbs are, like, magic… right?  Ugh, now I want pizza.

4. Would you take a picture of my leg bruise?  I got mine at the barbed wire pit, where’dthebeast-53 you get yours? 

5. The Spartan chicks are hot…. I wish the last one would have chicked me slightly more slowly. 

6. You started at 9?   I started at 10:30, why am I beating you?  I bet Hobie Call is already home napping. 

7. The people at work are NEVER going to believe what I did this weekend. 

thebeast-508. Just breathe.  There’s just a rope ladder to climb, another rope to traverse, a slippery wall, and a spear to throw left…oh yeah, and the three huge Spartan Gladiators with pugil sticks to get passed.  (With a quarter mile to go.)

9. I don’t need to be able to walk when we get done, do I?  I mean, the volunteers will carry us back to our cars, right?  That’s part of their job, right?

10. So, what you’re saying is that we are running up double black diamond slopes thatthebeast-59 are equipped with a fully functional ski lift?  Okay, just checking.

11. Girl One: You think they have port-a-potties out here? 

Girl Two: Just go.  I did. 

Girl One: Like, just now you did?

Girl Two: I think so. 

12. If that dude throws me over this eight foot wall right now, I’ll buy him an entire keg ofthebeast-71 beer at the after party tonight. 

13. I hear music, I think that means we’re close… or I’m now hearing things.  Either way, it’s catchy so I am going with it.

14. That’s not mud, it’s mushy banana.  I had it in my bra but it got squashed when I did the barbed wire crawl.   I’ll still eat it though. 

15. That was the craziest thing I’ve ever done… I can’t wait for the next one. 

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Watch our Beast Recap on Spartan Race TV

What do you most remember (or not) about your Spartan experience?  Post pictures and one liners to our wall, there may be a T-shirt in it for you with your quote on it… Want to know what all the buzz is about?  Get signed up for a race today and find out. 

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by Carrie Adams

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”  – Marilyn Monroe

Cassandra Randolph, Arizona

We’re pretty sure Marilyn was talking about muddy running shoes.  Our Spartan female champions and participants are showing up, taking on the Spartan Races, and showing the men how to make dirt look good.  Recently, we discussed the topic of getting chicked, a term that refers to a man getting passed on the course by a woman.  The post had our men shaking in their Reeboks and our women standing up and cheering.

Our Competitive Wave One Women winners each brought a physical and mental toughness to the race.  Their victories have been great achievements and highlight what’s possible for women in the Spartan racing circuit.  Undoubtedly there was epic “chicking” involved.

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